Learning to pull a rope the Australian way / by Jessica Lee

I think I've emphasized this point quite enough already throughout this blog but my goodness, things are SUPER EXPENSIVE in AUSTRALIA!

It probably has to do with the fact that Australia is like an island shoved in a corner on a world map. (Funny thing, when they were giving out Australian world maps on campus, Australia was drawn in the centre of the world and the other countries were surrounding it.) Google it.

I'm trying to buy a climbing harness because I really don't want to have to share sweaty, nasty smelling harnesses with everyone at the gym. Gross.

Fun fact, harnesses in retail stores in Australia are about $90AUD + while harnesses in Canada are about $40CAD+. And everyone knows CAD has less value than AUD... And if you wanted to ship to Australia, shipping a harness is about $94 CAD. Oh and if you try to buy something off of Amazon, it won't let you ship to Australia!

It really isn't fair.

So pretty much, I'm stuck with an overpriced harness that is in an ugly colour or I am stuck with a sweaty, smelly harness.

I sympathize with everyone in Australia who has tried to place a web order with a U.S. or Canadian company and couldn't because they just don't ship things over here.

In other news, yesterday was the first meeting for the rock climbing club at University of Sydney.

I loved it.

We have a rock climbing gym right here on campus (something I should have found out while I was still in Canada so I could have packed my harness and saved all of this hassle), so it is quite convenient for me to climb. I like it here because many of the members are quite advanced which means that most of the walls are at a harder level. There are only about two easy climbs out of 15. This is good because while I can only reach the top of maybe about 7 of these climbs, it pushes me to become a better climber.

I was paired with a sort of newbie, his name was Matt. At first I thought he was going to be a douche since he picked a hard climb and told me to climb first and then when I couldn't reach the top, he went to the top and showed me up and I thought this was going to be the pattern throughout the whole time we were climbing together. But it turns out he was quite supportive towards me getting to the top too. And at the end, I made it to the top of a particular climb that he couldn't get to the middle of. Not that I was trying really hard to prove myself...

I also found out that I have been belaying improperly for about the last 8 or so years I have been climbing. This was quite the shock. Apparently "the american" way of belaying is wrong. It was quite humbling for me as I was retaught by this guy who had been climbing for only about a year the "proper Australian way", which to be honest looks quite silly. They do a sort of pull upwards and then downwards, sort of like you're pulling a ship into shore kind of thing. But you know, I'm not going to argue with anyone because when you're in Australia, you should learn to do things the Australian way. I mean, that's the whole point of why I'm in Sydney anyway- I get to experience a new culture and a new way of pulling rope.

And besides the obvious shopping difficulties, it has been quite a fun experience so far.